After I completed a bachelor’s degree in international development and economics, I focused on finding a way to reconcile my interest in history and geopolitics with a natural urge to move towards banking or finance. A research analyst position seemed like the best of both worlds, and I’m fortunate to be in a role at Vigilant – a Montreal based subsidiary of the proprietary trading firm, DRW - that focuses on major news-making events around the globe.
It definitely requires flexibility with your work hours. I normally arrive at work around 4:30 am, but it’s sometimes a 2:00 am start, depending on what’s happening in the world. Yes, it’s early but, in maybe one of the best examples of diminishing marginal utility, there are fewer things better than a cup of coffee before 5:00 am. The first thing I do when I sit at my desk is check what transpired in the hours since we left work. It’s important to know if there were any “game changing” events overnight to understand how the world and the macro-economy, as we understood them, may have changed.
I share what I’ve learned with our trading teams – quickly – so they’re aware of how these events may impact the markets today. If there’s an imminent event to prepare for, I get to work writing strategy and surveying contacts. If not, it’s all about monitoring for breaking news and helping the traders analyze it as it happens.
What I enjoy the most about my job is the speed of the feedback. Our reading of the markets is put to an immediate test. It is thrilling. We also have the opportunity to see and understand the world at a higher level, with a front row seat to events and news that have huge impact. The winter has been warmer than expected? It’s bearish for oil. That, in turn, places downward inflation and impacts Central Bank decisions. And, at the very end, consumer decisions are shaped by these seemingly disconnected events.
Yes, everything is somehow connected. I love being able to connect the dots and recognize how these events drive market decisions. To be a good research analyst, you need a burning curiosity. But most of all, you have to treat every success and failure as an opportunity to learn – something that really defines how we work at Vigilant.